UN Commission Steamrolls Over Pro-Life/ Pro-Family Concerns

By | April 21, 2016

NEW YORK, April 22 (C-Fam) Ending negotiations unusually early last Friday, the UN Commission on Population and Development chose to embrace ambiguity on divisive social issues in a resolution about the need for accurate data to measure progress on UN development policy.

The annual commission chose language that might be construed within the UN system as a license to promote homosexual rights, abortion rights, sexual rights, and other controversial social policies despite insistent calls to anchor controversial terms in the context of previous agreements that excluded these notions.

This comes at a volatile time, as the UN system ramps up advocacy to get countries to relent on contentious issues at the behest of powerful developed nations.

In order to avoid ambiguities, the General Assembly and other UN Commissions qualify terms such as “sexual and reproductive health” and “reproductive rights” by referencing a 1994 UN Conference that prevented abortion from becoming an international right, and excludes the notions of homosexual rights and sexual rights. This happened as recently as last month at the Commission on the Status of Women. The Commission on Population and Development, held each April, also qualified both terms in the past.

This time, instead of grounding the terms in previous agreements, the Commission chose to leave them unqualified.

Countries that normally insist on deleting or qualifying the terms were reportedly assuaged by assurances that there was no need for qualifiers, since they could only be understood in the context of the 1994 Conference on Population and Development.

To appease them further the United States and the European Union conceded a hotly contested paragraph that acknowledges the sovereign prerogative of states to implement UN policy in conformity with national priorities, culture, and religion.

In exchange, developed countries pushing the sexual agenda excluded express references to “comprehensive sexuality education” which derailed the Commission last year, or open-ended language about discrimination that would be construed as including sexual orientation as a category of human rights law.

In the long term the tradeoff is likely to benefit proponents of the sexual agenda, since other elements of the resolution are likely to erase these gains.

In particular, the resolution appears to endorse unspecified “reviews” of the 1994 UN Conference carried out by the UN bureaucracy that expands the 1994 agreement to include precisely the controversial elements it excluded.

The wording in the resolution ambiguously opens the door to agreements that UN agencies deliberately concocted outside of the normative framework of the UN Charter to gin up support for controversial social policies that would never fly at UN headquarters. Now they are asking the UN membership to endorse these agreements, without ever negotiating their content.

This undermines how only agreements negotiated by UN member states in the context of UN Charter bodies can provide normative guidance for the entire UN system.

To avoid this confusion recent agreements referred to “outcomes of review conferences” instead, a less ambiguous phrase that can be interpreted as referring only to agreements by the General Assembly.

Russia was one of a few countries that expressed its disappointment at the outcome. Countries were “forcing their own agenda” through “terms with vague and arbitrary interpretations,” and proved “blind and deaf” to other positions, the delegation said when the resolution was adopted.